AT Hike Days 76 - 85. Waynesboro VA to Harper’s Ferry WV 161.1 miles
May 10, 2018
|5/1. Stealth. 874.4. 11.4.
5/2. Stealth. 894.5. 20.1
5/3. Stealth. 914.8. 20.3
5/4. Stealth. 933.7. 18.9
5/5. Elk Wallow Wayside 950.6 16.9
5/6. Stealth (R&V) 964.1. 13.5
5/7. Jim & Molly Denton sh. 976. 11.9
5/8. Stealth rollercoaster. 996.8 20.8
5/9. David Lesser Shelter 1015.5 18.7
5/10. Harpers Ferry. 1024.1. 8.6
In this section we hiked the Shenandoahs, my brother and sister-in-law joined us for 3 days, and we made it to the “spiritual” halfway point of the hike. We also put more 20s on the board.
The Shenandoahs were relatively flat and easy and allowed us to hike close to 20 miles each day. They also had commercial campgrounds and stores for a welcome afternoon soda on a few days. My brother Robert (trail name Scarecrow because of his battered straw hat) and his wife Valerie (trail name Toe-Toe due to her battered feet) rescued us from a cold rainy day and we all went to a motel in Luray VA and to a fun Cinco De Mayo Mexican dinner. We all set out the next morning and hiked through more rain, then fog, and finally sun. Robert & Valerie got a little taste of the trail - spending one night stealth tenting and one night in a shelter along with Pastor John and Zia Fox. During these 2 days we were fortunate to see a very bright Scarlet Tanager (related to the cardinal) and an orange salamander. Robert and Valerie left the following morning and were successful hitchhiking back to their car along Skyline Drive.
After those 2 fun days Gordon and I entered the dreaded rollercoaster - 14 miles of 14 nasty little rocky climbs and descents. They ranged from 300’ to 600’ each and were tightly stacked together. It took us 13 hours to hike 18 miles and we were exhausted when we finally got to camp. But Virginia wasn’t done with us yet - even our short day of hiking into Harper’s Ferry was tough - more big and small rocks slowed us down. This is an appetizer for what we’ll be facing in Pennsylvania - AKA Painsylvania or Rocksylvania as its known on the trail.
In historic Harper’s Ferry we stopped at the ATC headquarters and were documented as the 158th & 159th thru-hikers so far this year. We also found old friends registering the same day - ones we thought were way ahead of us. After taking a zero we will be crossing Maryland in 2 days, then we start 230 miles of rocks.
Also a note I forgot to enter in the last section - one rainy night before Waynesboro we couldn’t get into our planned shelter - it was too crowded. So we set up our tent behind the shelter. When it rains we have to be careful not to touch the walls or ceiling of our super-light single-wall tent because condensation will get all over our dry bedding. That night Gordon woke me up as he scrambled around because a mouse had gotten in the tent and scampered over his head. So we were both up with our headlights on chasing this mouse. Of course knocking into everything in the tent. Finally we cornered it - where it sat up and looked at us calmly and cute as could be - and we chased it back out of the tent. By now we were wet and so was our down comforter and everything else in the tent. The next afternoon the sun finally came out and we stopped and dried everything on trees and some large boulders.